A celebrity bartending event sponsored Monday by the Hinesville Rotary Club and the LaQuinta Inn and Suites raised $350 for the Liberty/Long County office of the American Red Cross, according to Rotary Vice President Brigitte Shanken.
She said that the event was held to support fundraising efforts by Savannah TV reporter Dal Cannady, who walked 97 miles in seven days to raise funds for local Red Cross offices. She said the LaQuinta Inn, Lena Mae’s Country Cafe and Florapharm Tea-USA made contributions to the celebration.
“I’ve known Dal for years,” Shanken said. “He’s walked all over the place every year to raise funds for local communities. When he began this walk last week, and I knew he’d be walking through Liberty County. I wanted the Rotary to do something to help raise funds for the Red Cross. I asked club members if we could do another celebrity bartending event.”
The Rotary sponsored a similar event at the LaQuinta’s Blue Fountain Lounge six months ago. The winning bartending team at that event was Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Leah Poole and CVB program assistant Evanne Floyd. Poole and Floyd won again Monday night, collecting $157 in tips. The second-place celebrity team was Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas and Cannady, who collected $84 in tips.
A special tea donated by Florapharm Tea-USA Vice President Marc Kluge was the main ingredient in several of the mixed drinks served. Shanken said tea sales at the event totalled $119. She said the total amount raised for the bartending event was $360.
Other celebrity bartenders participating were Walthourville Mayor Daisy Pray, Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington and Flemington Mayor Pro Tem Paul Hawkins. To ensure public safety, celebrity bartenders were supervised by a licensed bartender.
Earlier in the day, members of the Seniors of Walthourville group walked at least 5 of the 7½ miles from Walthourville to Flemington with Cannady. Walthourville Councilwoman Sarah B. Hayes said she walked all 7 miles. She said her feet didn’t hurt too bad, but her calves protested the distance a bit. Hayes said she walks a lot but usually not 7½ miles at a time.
As guests gathered for the event, Leola Lambert, still wearing her reflective vest from the day’s walk, stood quietly holding her grandson, Josiah Capers. She’s captain of the American Red Cross for Liberty and Long counties and the nurse at Snelson-Golden Middle School.
“I’m a registered nurse and the Red Cross captain,” Lambert said. “(Red Cross offices) from all the surrounding counties call me for help. You see, if someone’s prescriptions are burned up in a fire, only a licensed nurse or doctor can call the pharmacy for replacement prescriptions.”
A table manned by Melba Hoskins, Chef Efrim DeHart and Zabrina Smith of Lena Mae’s Country Cafe was hopping all night. The barbecue restaurant, which is just outside Fort Stewart’s gate three, gave away free samples of their pulled-pork barbecue.
“A lot of folks think, ‘Well, we haven’t had any hurricanes or tornadoes lately, so we don’t need to donate to the Red Cross,’” said Cannady, who admitted his feet had blisters on top of blisters. “But we’ve had a house fire in local counties just about every night. The $18,000 we’ve raised so far will probably last the Red Cross about a month.”
Donations were made to the Red Cross via Cannady from Liberty County mayors and First Presbyterian Christian Academy students.
Cannady said the American Red Cross always is there for victims of natural disasters and home fires. They provide victims with food, clothing and temporary shelter, he said. At the end of each leg of his walk, Cannady served meals or cleaned tables at local restaurants. He donated his tips to the Red Cross.